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WCCO Viewers’ Choice For MN’s Best Local Beer

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(credit: CBS) Matt Brickman
Matt Brickman is the co-host of WCCO-TV Saturday Morni...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This might be as tough of a topic as we’ve tackled in Best of Minnesota. Because when you ask someone what their favorite beer is they might say “all of them.” But we asked you to take on this daunting task and narrow it down to just one.

So far this year, Brit’s Pub has poured over 25,000 pints of your pick for Minnesota’s Best Local Beer: Surly Furious.

For a brewery that’s not even a decade old, Surly has become ubiquitous in the Minnesota beer scene.

While it’s their bestseller now, Furious wasn’t even intended to be Surly’s star.

“When Surly started, they started with two beers: Bender, our oatmeal brown ale and Furious, our hoppy amber. They thought that Bender was going to be the flagship, it’s very approachable,” Linda Haug of Surly said.

Actually, the success of another Minnesota craft brew might have created the thirst for a beer like Furious.

“We love hoppy beers in this market. I think Summit EPA really conditioned us all to enjoy hoppy beers and, you know, Furious just took it to a new level,” Surly sales manager Corey Shovein said.

If you’re not a big beer drinker, to you, hoppy might just mean bitter. But Furious doesn’t quite fit in with typical IPAs. They don’t even call it an IPA . They call it a hoppy amber.

“Why isn’t it just a palate crusher? It’s the sweetness from the malt. So, it rounds it out. You’re just not getting that sharpness, you’re also getting that round wonderful flavor from the malt as well,” Haug said.

That balance of flavor comes from ingredients Surly brings in from all over the globe.

“To get that beautiful red hue that you know from Furious, we bring in a caramel malt,” Surly brewer Mike Willaford said.

So, the big question people have about Surly is: Why cans? Well, when they started, they were the first craft brewer to do 16-oz cans. They helped them stand out. Plus, since light is the No. 1 enemy of beer and with cans, light can’t get in.

You can either email Matt or tweet him.

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